In a shibboleth-laden piece, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson advocates removing Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list because “there is no history of radical Islam in Cuba.” Not exactly correct, but let’s leave that discussion for another day. Radical Islam alone is not a legal factor used by the Secretary of State in making a state sponsor designation. Looking at a state sponsor listing with only the radical Islamist strain of terrorism in mind is a myopic view of terror and of the listing process.
As penned on this site in March last year, when a country gets listed by the U.S. Government on the state sponsors of terrorism list, economic sanctions and other restrictions on relations with the U.S. are triggered. This determination is made pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act (EAA), section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA).
Disciples and supporters of the Castro regime wax nostalgic about the Cuban Revolution, even if it means ignoring the murder of hundreds of thousands of political opponents, the current political prisoners, and other crimes against humanity. The Cuban regime murdered American citizens in 1996 and it provides sanctuary to non-Islamist terrorists that should be extradited to the United States to face trial. It has a robust espionage network that has also cost American lives and damaged U.S. national security.
As with the easing of the travel ban, de-listing Cuba from the terrorism list has been a primary flank by the pro-Castro lobby in DC for many years. They only see dollar signs, even if it means endangering U.S. national security. However the pro-Castro lobby has had a bad week. In addition to more robust airport screening of travelers arriving from state sponsors of terrorism, two Senators who have long championed closer relations with the communist island announced retirement.
While not of the radical islamist vintage, Cuba has a long history of engaging in terrorist acts throughout the Americas and the world. It pre-dates that terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and it continues to train and harbor terrorists. The Cuban regime earned its place on the U.S. terrorism list in 1982 and there it should remain. In addition to Cuba, the time is overdue to look at Venezuela as a possible candidate for more robust screening.